By: Mary Wurtz

On Wednesday, June 8, at 2:00 p.m. (EST) The Council of State Governments (CSG) will host a webinar to debut a new CSG report, “Safety Awareness on Public Transit: State Responses.”

The report was developed in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and outlines different strategies states have adopted to combat the use of public transit for human trafficking. In 2020, over 16,000 victims of human trafficking were reported to the U.S. National Trafficking Hotline. According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorizations, human trafficking is defined as:

  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

While human trafficking incidents occur through many other methods, traffickers often rely on public transit systems to recruit, control and deliver victims to buyers. To explore potential methods for combatting this phenomenon, CSG hosted a virtual learning seminar in 2021 with policymakers and other key stakeholders to discuss possible solutions.

The CSG report to be discussed June 8 outlines the strategies discussed during last year’s virtual discussion. These strategies include:

  1. Raising awareness of human trafficking on public transit;
  2. Engaging key stakeholders;
  3. Considering specific populations affected; and
  4. Considering a broad approach to transit safety options.

In the June 8 webinar, CSG will expand on these four strategies and discuss examples from states that have taken steps to address trafficking on public transit. The webinar will feature presenters Kristen Joyner of the Community Transportation Association of America and Sydney Blodgett of CSG.

Kristen Joyner is the Vice President of the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA), a national membership association representing rural, small-urban, specialized and Non-Emergency Medical Transportation providers nationwide. Ms. Joyner has represented the Southwest Transit Assocation on the CTAA Board since 2017. Currently, she serves as an advocate for transit issues and conducts leadership training and certification programs for transportation professionals. From 2012 – 2016, she was a member of the White House Task Force for Transit Leaders. Recently, she spearheaded Operation Veterans in Public Transportation, a project that SWTA developed to acknowledge and support veterans in transportation.

Sydney Blodgett is a Project Manager at The Council of State Governments. Ms. Blodgett has experience in engaging state leaders to discuss policy issues and solutions in a bipartisan and innovative way. Throughout her career, she has researched and analyzed state-level policies in a variety of areas. She disseminates her research through blogs, articles and online platforms. Prior to CSG, Ms. Blodgett worked for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She earned a B.A. from the University of Louisville and an M.P.A from the University of Kentucky.

Please register for the June 8 webinar here

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